News Release

Post-Election Decisions

ERIC FONER
Professor of history at Columbia University, current president of the American Historical Association and author of The Story of American Freedom and Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, Foner said today: “In 1876, there was a dispute over the Hayes-Tilden presidential election returns from Florida, South Carolina and Louisiana. An electoral commission was formed (which was extra-constitutional), but behind the scenes, the party bosses came up with the ‘Bargain of 1877’ which effectively awarded the White House to the Republican Rutherford B. Hayes but gave control of the South to the Democrats. At the time the Democratic Party was the white supremacist party; it proceeded to take the vote away from blacks in the South and impose the legal structure of racial segregation. Behind the scenes deals always seem to be at somebody else’s expense.”

MICHEL GELOBTER
Assistant professor in the Graduate Department of Public Administration at Rutgers University, Gelobter said today: “The current margin of difference is not statistically significant, it is almost like flipping a coin. At the conclusion of Wednesday morning’s vote count, Bush held 48.904 percent of the Florida vote, compared with 48.900 percent for Gore. A simple test of this tiny difference — four thousandths of one percentage point indicates that there is a 45 percent chance that the difference is a result of random error. Given enough vote re-counting, re-analysis, and, perhaps, re-voting, a winner with a statistically defensible margin in Florida may yet emerge. Barring this, a backroom deal may be cut.”
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GWEN PATTON
Montgomery Pioneer Voting Rights Archivist at the Trenholm State Technical College, Patton, who has done voter training in predominantly black areas of Alabama and Florida, said today: “The Electoral College makes a mockery of what we call a democracy. One person one vote — that should be the determinant of how we should conduct our elections. I’ve always been suspicious of the voting process, because the vote should be the equalizer, but the process can be corrupted. We should be training people in voting, investing in the electoral process and ensuring the integrity of the vote. We do so much to assure the validity and honesty for commercial transactions such as banking, buying groceries or pumping gas. Surely we should do more to validate the integrity of the vote.”

ALAN HIRSCH
An attorney and professor at Hartwick College in New York and co-author of For the People: What the Constitution Really Says About Your Rights (Free Press, 1998) as well as author of an unpublished novel about an Electoral College crisis, Hirsch said today: “If Bush wins Florida and Gore wins New Mexico, Bush’s margin in the Electoral College is four votes. A switch of two electors to Gore would result in a tie in the Electoral College. If Bush wins Florida in a way that seems improper, pressure will no doubt be mounted on the Bush electors in Florida, and perhaps elsewhere, to vote for Gore when the Electoral College meets on Dec. 18.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167